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Controversial UH head football coach resigns amid accusations of creating toxic environment

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – University of Hawaii head football coach Todd Graham resigned Friday amid allegations of toxicity within the football program.

Graham, who was hired in January 2020 following the departure of former coach and quarterback Nick Rolovich, compiled a record 11-11 during his UH coaching career. He had just completed the second year of a five-year contract.

The roughly a month-long period since the last game of Hawaii’s regular season and, given the COVID-related cancellation of the Hawaii Bowl, Graham’s last game with Hawaii has been tumultuous.

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Three days after a 38-14 road win against Wyoming, the teams’ front-runner Dae Dae Hunter announced that he was entering the transfer portal.

And just a day later, quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, an esteemed native born-and-raised local recruit who played at Saint Louis School before eventually earning team captain honors with the Rainbow Warriors, decided to leave as well. Cordeiro has since signed with Hawaii rival San Jose State.

The departure sparked a public broadcast of grievances on Twitter, which heard hundreds as current and former players described an unhealthy team culture under Graham.

Players complained that a disturbing locker room environment and incompetent coaching had robbed them of their love for the game, with one player simply saying, I’ve played on a 1-11 team and never felt like this.

The accusations kept pouring in as the days went on, with some players allegedly telling SFGATE that Graham was verbally abusive to players, humiliating to assistant coaches and open about the fact that he aspired to use Hawaii as a stepping stone to a more lucrative coaching job.

When asked about the claims in the days after they were made, Graham admitted that improvements were needed.

I want to be a role model for our players and we ask them to be coachable and I think you have to be humble and have self awareness and self improvement, Coach Graham told reporters on Dec. 8. It’s clear that our employees that we talked about were committed to doing things the right way and we know we’re doing things the right way.

But the weeks that followed seem to indicate that little has changed.

On Christmas Eve, the team’s lead receiver, Nick Mardner, announced that he was entering the transfer portal. Then, defensive captain and linebacker Darius Muasau, along with linemen Jonah Laulu and Justus Tavai, revealed in a series of social media posts on Tuesday that they had done the same, leading to a total of 17 players announcing their intention to leave. the arches.

In a Senate briefing last week, former players testified that Graham created a toxic locker room environment, creating a rift between stock market players and walk-ons.

Some players who were on the team last season depicted him as a tyrant, a hypocrite and verbally abusive.

I just don’t see anything changing with this guy here, former player and Kapolei High graduate, Leonard Lee said at the hearing. He has a rejection of the culture and a lack of respect for players. I try to see the good in everyone and try to give people opportunities, but he is without a doubt the worst person I have ever met in my life.

After his resignation, Graham said in a statement:

After much prayer and reflection with my family, I have come to the conclusion that I will retire as the head coach of the Rainbow Warriors, with a very heavy heart… I am leaving only for my family and my health.

The university said that because Graham resigned, no additional money will be owed to the coach beyond the normal fees and compensation earned.

UH Athletics Director David Matlin said: Todd’s tireless efforts as a coach have positively impacted many student athletes. We talked for a long time and it is clear that he has taken this action to move the football program forward.

Meanwhile, UH linebackers coach Jacob Yoro has been appointed as interim head coach.

The search for the new head coach begins immediately.

This story is being updated.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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